Tolerance toward Those Thirsty for Attention

Have you ever been so thirsty or hungry that you acted slightly undignified trying to acquire something to meet your immediate need?

People can be so hungry for love or approval that they seem to demand it. It is a natural human instinct to want to be loved, approved of, and complimented at times. Either one's job or personal life has to fulfill these needs but when both the professional life and the home life is completely void and dry of meeting those needs then people might appear to beg for attention.

Humans need to know their life is worth living. They desire to hear they are needed and are accomplishing something good. They need to know that someone notices and cares whether they are dead or alive.

What is the longest period of time you have gone without anyone saying, "Thank you"; "I appreciate you,"; "Good job!"; "I love you."; "I like your......"; "I like it when you ......."?

From my work experience, when people come across another who appears to be needy in the self confidence department and displays signs of needing approval then they do the opposite. Instead of providing some needed approval to that person they withhold it even more because they don't like the way the needy person is acting. This is like finding a fallen starving homeless person who is stretching to take hold of some desperately needed food and then you walk up and kick the food futher out of reach because you despise their unbecoming behavior and appearance.

The psychology of why people behave the way they do has always interested me. From my experience as a supervisor and employer I have learned that every person who has a strange personality trait there is usually a previous dramatic life experience that explains it. For example, a previous employee of mine occasionally made subtle bitter comments toward the men in the office. During her annual review I reached out and sincerely asked her if she had ever been hurt by a man before. I assured her she did not have to answer that question if she didn't want to but that I had sensed some unusual bitterness and cared about her. After recomposing from the unexpected question she teared up and began to tell me a heart wrenching story of how her own father had repetitively raped her as a child and her mother did nothing to stop it. We sat and cried together for several hours. The behavior finally made sense. She actually wanted a normal relationship with a man but was too afraid to get close so she made unprofessional comments to encourage them to stay away from her. I know this story had nothing to do with a person seeking approval but I used it to explain that there is usually a logical explanation for a person's odd behavior like constantly seeking approval.

If a person has been in the emotional desert for a while then they cannot help craving attention. Just like someone who is extremely thirsty or hungry cannot help from being obsessed with finding food or water. Inside they want to be honest and shout their need out loud but it would appear too arrogant. Instead it seeps out in unexplained actions.
If you know someone at work who is obviously seeking attention or approval I would almost guarantee you that they are carrying a heavy load of pain around everyday and have been for a very long time without receiving a compliment or love from the people closes to them in life work, church, or home. They are screaming inside for some recognition that their life is truly worth living. They need to know that the purpose of life it not just waking up, working, and going home day after day with no evidence that they are making a contribution to God, their, employer, to someone or anything important. Feeling like you are worth nothing to other humans or feeling like the world thinks you are contributing nothing is unbearable to someone who wants to be productive and be a part of things that make a difference in the lives of others.

It is NOT THE COMPLIMENTS they seek. It is the assurance of WORTH that they desperately need.

When someone is irritating you by seeking attention, approval, or love then seek an opportunity to provide some. They might just need a sip or a whole glass to tie them over for a while. Hurting people need some kind words from time to time. It does not mean they want people to overly dote on them with superficial comments. Normal people know the difference in fake bragging and sincere appreciation.
An occasional shot of unconditional love and compliments may be all it takes to lift their spirits and give them a needed break from the worthlessness that they feel. Simple kind words are to the heart like cool water is to a parched and dry tongue.
These verses not only apply to your enemies but they also apply to the UNLOVEABLE.
Luke 6:
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye in withal it shall be measured to you again.

Written by: M H Spicer 10/26/2009